Updated: Apr 8, 2019
I applied to many different places before my move, and I was even once in the final round of interviews for an internship at Big Machine Label Group, but my first job in Nashville ended up being at an ice cream shop. Not ideal, but it was a company that seemed fun and I needed to pay my rent. Plus, hello? Ice cream! I started this job within a day or two of my move. I was still feeling all of these crazy emotions, and looking back now, it probably wasn’t a good idea.
Things got off to a rocky start. I was late to work for the first two days and almost got fired. My manager was nice enough to see that I was struggling, and gave me another chance. I memorized flavors, learned how to make waffle cones, and did my best to keep customers happy. I dreaded night shifts, and I felt like I never had time or energy to do anything beyond work. I really tried to like my job, but it just wasn’t happening. I’m sure my boss could tell. Eventually, after a few more missteps, one that included me locking my keys in my car and being VERY late… I was let go. I don’t even think it had been three weeks.
What’s funny is that I had contemplated quitting that morning. I had contemplated quitting many mornings, but that morning in particular, I REALLY didn’t want to go. So, when I walked in, and my boss said “we need to talk about your termination,” when I should have felt really anxious, I actually felt relieved, and even excited. I’d previously gone to a “Nashville Girls Group Meet Up” event, which was a Facebook group of thousands of girls in Nashville, and the event was almost like speed dating for friends. It was probably the first social encounter I’d had since moving. Anyway, I’d made a friend who invited me to a barbecue that night. I originally said I couldn’t go because I had the night shift. I hated that. Now that I didn’t have a job, I was able to go! It ended up being the start of the first happy memory I had in Nashville. Driving home from the Ice cream shop that day, it wasn’t raining. But in the distance, I saw the most beautiful rainbow. I truly felt like that was a sign from the universe that things were going to be okay.
So, I went to the barbecue with Stephanie, who would grow to be one of my closest friends here. Almost everyone there was involved in music some way. The guy hosting was a producer, along with many of his friends. The rest were musicians, writers, and recording artists. It was the kind of mingling I’d been wanting to do since I moved. That night I ended up meeting the producer who’d help me create Horizon and the next three singles I’m planning to release. I truly feel like losing that job was a defining moment for my story. Like the old clichés of Oprah being fired or MJ not making the high school basketball team (which I don’t even think is actually true) but honestly, I was too afraid to quit my job, and I’m not sure I would have ever dared to leave that somewhat financial security on my own. I needed to be pushed out in order to find something more meaningful that would lead to more happiness, so if anyone reading this is struggling with losing a job, just know it only happened because better things are in store for you.
After the barbecue, we ended up going to Live on the Green, a free outdoor music festival that I’d been trying to go to since my move, but couldn’t because of work. We met up with more people and saw X Ambassadors, and made it just in time to hear their hit “Unsteady”. It was almost euphoric to be there. I suddenly felt like I was in the Nashville I’d imagined again. We ended up going to Broadway that night, drinking and dancing probably just a little too much, but it’s not like I had work in the morning. Everything felt surreal. I was at my most vulnerable position since moving, but all I felt was freedom. I had no job. No way to pay my rent or buy food, or anything really, I needed to survive. And yet, here I was, dancing the night away and finally having fun and for the first time feeling like dreams could really come true here.